I was a pre-adolescent boy during the glory days of the 1970's electromechanical pins, and was age 13 right about the time that Bally Playboy (and early digital) came out, and can remember going to the teen disco with my friends around that time and being too scared to hit on girls, we would always wind up in the pinball area (I specifically remember the machine there being Bally Six Million Dollar Man - which transitioned to the video arcade era when the classic video game Big Bang happened.
Anyway, when I got to college age, I was no longer scared to pick up on women, so I didn't play much pinball or video games, but did start getting back into both with the Williams Fire! pinball and the R-Type video game when I was a grad student at Georgia Tech. After school, a friend of mine bought an old machine, and I decided I wanted to get into this hobby, so I bought ... a Playboy! Many years later I now count 21 in my herd, about equally divided into electromechanical & digital (yes, I'm a bachelor, LOL). I have a hobby interest in setting up a application that could simulate an electromechanical machine as a state machine - i.e., such that the entire game play could show the states of all the electromechanical elements (it wouldn't be like Visual Pinball, but something with a bunch of Button controls that would be serve to actuate something getting hit, etc.) Of course, I should really get all my pins in perfect working order before I get into doing that, LOL.
To me, the realness of pinball is something that virtual pinball cannot reproduce; in some ways the electromechanicals are even more real as there are the clunky relays, switch disks and the "heart", the score motor cam. That said, when I'm on the road, I sometimes play Virtual Pinball (although it really needs some structure as it seems to be a complete mess to actually get a game properly installed), and I have used Virtual Pinball to "test-drive" new pins that I have added to my herd.